Deputies of the upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, have reacted nervously to President Boris Yeltsin’s statement of September 8 that he will make a decree on the organization of the house. Yeltsin revealed in his remarks that his decree envisages that the house will include not only executive and legislative branch officials, but also four or five members of his presidential administration. Presidential aide for regional and territorial policy Sergei Samoilov explained that Yeltsin intended that the entire house leadership, including the speaker, would be "appointed" by him, while the rest of the house would be filled by governors and administrators only "selected" by the president. When asked by baffled deputies what this difference meant, Samoilov explained that if, for example, a regional governor were elected speaker, he would have no opportunity to perform his duties in the region, and therefore, Yeltsin wants a person from his administration in that position. Finally, Samoilov said that Russian gubernatorial elections would probably take place after the presidential election by the end of 1996. Yeltsin’s initiative virtually corners Federation Council deputies, who have already voted against the Yeltsin law, and prefer to run for election. But they will probably not have enough time to overturn the Yeltsin decree. (5)
Free Air Time for All.